Open Thread

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This open thread is your space to use as you like. We invite you to discuss current and traditional etiquette. Feel free to ask questions of each other and the community moderators here.

18 Comments

  1. Billie Selke

    When a woman is chairing an event, which is proper Event Chair or Event Chairman? I believe it should be Event Chairman, but then I am of the old school. Thank you. Billie Selke

    • Elizabeth

      I think Event Chairwoman would make the most sense. There is nothing improper about Chairwoman as opposed to Chairman, and in fact it will be the correct title (instead of referring to her in the male version.)

  2. Michelle

    I have a wedding question. I have been invited to a lingerie shower and bachelorette outing for a bride of whose wedding I am not invited too. I’ve read that guests who are invited to showers should be invited to the wedding as well. Does this include lingerie/bachelorette parties or is that separate?

    • Alicia

      Well yes technically they should not be inviting anyone who is not invited to the wedding. However that is not your issue to bring up to the hosts. You are invited all you can or should do is decide if you would like to attend or not and promptly RSVP yes or no.

    • Elizabeth

      It is super rude of them to not invite you to the wedding itself, but to invite you to the “buy stuff for the bride” parties. It may be a misguided attempt to “include you in at least some activities” as if you’ll be happy for whatever scraps you are thrown. You can happily RSVP ‘no’ and not give it another thought.

      • Jazzgirl205

        Showers are supposed to be small affairs for intimate friends. If you were considered such a close friend, you would be invited to the wedding. I would wish the bride well and decline the invitation.

  3. Linda Taylor

    I just received a thank you card from my niece for a baby shower gift that I mailed to her. She signed the card with her name, her husband’s name and the unborn baby’s name. Should it not just have been signed by her name? I wouldn’t think you would add the spouse and the baby which is not due until October 8th! The shower is given in honor of her so she should have just signed the note, correct?

    • Alicia

      Well as the gift is really for both parents to use then signing her husbands name is acceptable. Honestly signing the unborn baby name is kinda creepy but was probably meant to be cute. She sent a thank yo note so I would not be so picky about the details of the signature and focus on the idea that she sent it and she and her husband like the gift and expect the baby will as well.

    • Winifred Rosenburg

      I agree with you but for different reasons. Thank-you notes should only be signed by the person who personally wrote the note. Other people who benefit from the gift, in this case her spouse and baby, should be mentioned in the note to indicate their appreciation but should be listed in the signature. However, I also agree with Alicia that you should appreciate the gesture regardless.

  4. Jazzgirl205

    Honestly, do any of these women have mothers anymore? I talking about mothers who will tell a young woman what “is done” and what “is not done.” I’m talking about the mavens who would actually instruct their daughters on how to be a lady. Has the term “lady” suddenly become passe? I have heard that some equate being a lady with subjugation and weakness. I don’t know about anyone else, but the ladies of my childhood were strong-willed people who could accomplish anything and they seemed to move through the world with the with the grace and confidence of an oceanliner through calm waters. All in high heels with their makeup intact :^)

    • Elizabeth

      Well, lots of men and women with poor manners grow up to be adults and have children…becoming a parent doesn’t magically instill good manners, unfortunately!

      • Nonnie Mowse

        I’ve been thinking and trying to figure out a lot recently, why some people get raised with/have access to information on etiquette, and others don’t. I learned at home, and was also taught some in middle school and high school as part of English courses and Health classes. Not all schools were on the same page apparently.

        Thirty plus years ago, it was getting close to our wedding date and my in-laws weren’t letting us know anything about the rehearsal dinner. Turns out, they had no clue that it was traditionally their responsibility. My MIL also held a huge grudge for years about her and her ex husband not being named on the invitations. Someone had told her I was in the wrong, and that is the only source she used. As I was finalizing details of the ceremony I asked her if there were any traditions from her family’s wedding history that I could think about having in ours (I didn’t know she’d had a ‘shotgun wedding’), and she got a little huffy and told me my husband’s sister was ‘supposed’ to be in the wedding too and why hadn’t I asked her yet. I had been taught, at home and in school, that it was strictly the bride’s choice whom she chose to be her attendants. Add to that, my future SIL was not friendly to me at all, and I only met her after we announced our engagement. But to try and keep the peace I asked her, she agreed, and then had no clue as to what being a bridesmaid really meant, and was very testy about helping my matron of honor who lived in anther state.

        SIL was never taught because her mother was never taught, keep going back the generations. And in the years since, MIL has never thought to read a book or grab a bridal magazine to do her homework, and was very anxious about her other children’s weddings and what was supposed to happen. MIL gets very bristly about not knowing, and will in front of everyone demand to know right then and there who and why decided that ___ is the ‘rule’. She uses the reason that she was a poor country bumpkin (which drives me crazy because name-calling was a punishable offense in my home growing up) and complains how others have treated her. I used to try to understand and affirm her, but now I find it exasperating and annoying.

        I am all for ‘accepting someone the way they are’, but then that seems to collide with ‘what’s wrong with learning something new’ when it comes to my in-laws. And yet, MIL does have a point, who decided that the rules or guidelines of etiquette should be followed by everyone?

        Anthropology, History and Sociology anyone?

        • Katie K

          Hello Nonnie,
          I’ve noticed that etiquette “rules” in the U.S. (especially about weddings) often vary by region and by social class. My MIL came from a rural background and my mom from a large city. They had very different ideas about acceptable wedding protocol!

          To answer your question as to who “made the rules”, try googling “history of etiquette”. You’ll find some interesting answers there.

          • Nonnie Mowse

            Thanks Katie, I already have and saved the webpages. My MIL also rural, but had no idea there were rules in the first place, and not just for weddings. That’s what I’m wondering, where are people supposed to learn if it’s not offered anywhere in their life, how to let them know that it’s important and learning a few ideas makes things go more smoothly. And how does one deal with a person who is resistant and rebellious to the idea on the whole. She seems to think ‘etiquette’ was invented to keep the poor where they belong, because it ‘always costs money’. I finally realized there is no changing her perception after 30 years and avoid her when possible.

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